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“If Nothing Else” – Scheduling a Productive Week in the NICU

Busy Woman

I picture you sitting at your desk in the morning.

You have the best intentions regarding The Pile of work that sits to your left. You know the one. The one you’ll get to the day the unit slows down and you have an hour or two away from patient care. Yea, THAT day. The one that last arrived in 2009 when census was down for a week.

And today, well it’s not looking too promising for The Pile either. Since it’s that kind of morning, I’ll get to the point.

Look at The Pile. Choose ONE task or project from The Pile. One that you could complete in 30 minutes or less. (You’d be surprised how many things fit this category if you have 30 uninterrupted minutes.)

Make a note somewhere – bulletin board, office door, wherever. Your note will say: "Week of July 2 – INE"

INE stands for "If Nothing Else"

Take your one task or portion of a project that takes 30 minutes or less and list it on this note under INE.

Because no matter what happens in your week, no matter how many things are already on your long list, IF NOTHING ELSE is complete by Friday, this ONE THING will be. It’s the most important thing on your list. (I’ve done this for 4 years. It really works!)

Sometimes it’s an email you’ve been meaning to send. Sometimes it’s an article you’ve been meaning to read, checking on the unit’s supply of positioning aids, or completing the last few required fields before submitting to the IRB. It doesn’t have to be huge.

You can’t get ‘everything’ finished.

But you can complete one thing. IF NOTHING ELSE. And on Friday it will feel SO good to cross it off your INE list.

Repeat once a week for a one month trial and watch The Pile become a mere Stack and then a Folder and then… Space.

You’ll feel a little happier and accomplish so much more.

If nothing else.

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